As Work From Home (WFH) has even more fully taken root with the end to COVID-19 nowhere in sight, we are seeing and hearing about a number of remote workers relocating in sizable numbers. There are a variety of reasons, from getting outside of highly populated big cities, to being closer to family, to finding more affordable housing, etc. But the trend is undeniable in Life Sciences given the typical convergence of big city and high costs in traditional markets such as Boston and San Francisco.
Much has been written and many discussions recently have centered on the topic of Work From Home (WFH) in the COVID-19 era. Initial reactions from both sides of the Life Sciences spectrum, from employer and to employee, were surprisingly positive, given that it was almost literally an overnight transition of unprecedented magnitude.
The majority of employees welcomed the flexibility afforded by a WFH policy that eliminated tiresome-to-brutal commutes and provided more time with family and loved ones. Employers, even the most skeptical and most traditional-minded advocates of a centralized workforce, witnessed productivity gains, enhanced engagement, and greater employee satisfaction. All without major disruptions for the most part.
Talent Acquisition teams aggressively started to alter their recruiting strategies to identify and tap into new talent pool geographies that were previously "off limits" due to longstanding centralized hiring requirements. Through their own networking and using customized, rapid solutions such as Beaker's Talent Intelligence & Analytics, many Life Science companies went "all in" on remote talent across a variety of functions.
As we collectively enter the latest phase of our so-called “new normal,” a number of forward-thinking companies in the Life Sciences industry are aggressively redefining their overall and diversity hiring strategies. On the heels of an externally mandated Work From Home (WFH) proof-of-concept, executives are coming to the realization that there are economic and productivity benefits – within in certain functions – for a more remote workforce.
Led by strategic Talent Acquisition and Attraction teams, we’re seeing the WFH approach being expanded and integrated into diversity initiatives. By lifting or at least reconsidering prior geographical restrictions on certain positions, the most progressive Life Science companies are now tapping into “net new” talent markets. The early results are in and these companies are getting greater access to high performing and high potential target talent, more diverse talent pools from which to recruit and a competitive talent advantage.
In many Life Sciences “hubs,” the highly concentrated numbers of hiring companies coupled with a limited, in-demand talent pool results in constant competitive poaching and bidding wars for candidates. With fewer prospective candidates willing to relocate in the COVID-19 era, there are even greater challenges but more benefits than ever now to explore and tap into remote workforces.
The precautions brought forward by COVID-19 have been a catapult into the future of work. The past three weeks have been warm up act for a future workplace that was inevitable. Long before the virus, people were touting remote work as the future, not as a public health precaution but for its convenience and cost effectiveness. In 2014, Fast Company predicated that half the population might be working from home by 2020. Granted, a global pandemic is not what they likely had in mind.